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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Meningitis vaccine 'wears off'

10th May 2010

Researchers from Oxford University have found that the meningitis C vaccine loses its effectiveness for 75% of children by the time they become teenagers.


The scientists studied 250 children between the ages of six and 12 to test immunity from the disease seven years after the original injection was given.

The team, from the Oxford Vaccine Group, carried out tests on the children to measure the amount of antibodies in their blood which protected against meningitis.

Only a quarter of the children they tested had adequate amounts of the antibodies to protect them against the disease.

The team said that children in Britain had protection against meningitis because of "herd immunity".

This means that enough people have been given the vaccine that cases of the disease have been significantly reduced and even people who have not had the jab are protected.

However, if this begins to decrease then many children would be at risk.

Professor Andrew Pollard, who headed the team, said to the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases that: "This study is just the latest to show that the personal protection given by meningitis C vaccines in early childhood doesn't last forever and several countries have now responded to these findings by introducing teenage boosters, before protection fails in the population."


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